In this blog post Lancaster University student Lara Thornton talks about her experience of completeing an internship at Blaze. The paid internship was organised and funded by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University.
Between August-December 2022, I worked as a Content Creation and Communications Intern for Blaze. My role entailed creating posts for social media, keeping the website updated and researching areas in order to add things to the website, such as creative careers resources for the resource page, and engaging in administrative work in communications. Having never done an internship before, I didn’t entirely know what to expect. But I quickly found that Blaze was an extremely welcoming organisation, and their commitment to helping young people grow their skills and experience applied to me too, as they frequently showed interest and care for my development as an individual as opposed to just being an employee, with this care for my growth being something I greatly appreciated. Not only that, but they took into account that my interest was in the running of a charity organisation, not only answering any questions I had about the ins and outs of charity work, but actively encouraging this.
I gained an array of skills from my internship, in addition to developing skills I already had. From learning the workings of a charity and funding, to building on my ability to edit websites and create new elements. Prior to this, I didn’t have great confidence in my ability to edit and handle a website, but since this experience my confidence in my own abilities has increased, a feeling which applies to my writing and professional communication skills also. I have found myself finishing this internship with greater confidence in my own skills and abilities than when I began, in addition to the experience it has provided me with in social media, website management, and charity work.
The highlight of the internship in the end was being able to engage with projects, such as the Stand Out project, which was one of the things which drew me to this internship. Being able to see the projects come to life made the word even more rewarding. Travelling to Burnley, I was able to listen to their thoughts and plans for the future of the project, get their input on how they wanted to advertise the project on social media and written pieces for the web page, so they continued to be the ones driving the project on all levels, and take part in activities such as button making. The young producers welcomed me into the project meeting and told me all about Stand Out, which enabled me to have a greater understanding of the project which would help me to properly advertise it.
Doing the internship alongside my Masters degree, there was a worry about how I would balance it with my studies as the term progressed and became more intense. However, this was where I really benefited from the flexi-work nature of the internship, as I was able to do less hours if I had a heavy period of work at University, and do more hours on weeks where I had less going on. This style of work also allowed me to continue with my extracurriculars, as once the term began I was able to change one of my work days so that I could keep playing lacrosse for my University, which I really appreciated.
Overall, my time with Blaze has been one which allowed personal and professional growth, where I was met with a welcoming and encouraging environment where I always felt my opinions and skills were valued.